The sun strode briskly towards its zenith as it always did in the fall, something of the warmth of summer emanating from it still. Farmers welcomed it from their fields with hasty glances at the lush verdure it drew from the obscurity of night to glowing, radiant life, women peered at it out of their houses and dairies, children sang joyously to it as they raced up and down the twisting, winding mountains to their shabby school-house.

In the serene hamlet of Balakot, another day was drawing steadily on. A day like any other, eighth of an October akin to Octobers that had been and Octobers that stretched out before them in a vista of similarly placid years . Until ” until the earth itself began to stir, to tremble beneath their feet like some gigantic monster goaded to wrath, began to fling them about and batter them, crush them under the rubble of their own beloved homes, maim and torture and engulf them altogether.

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